By Zoe Bradbury
Consuming a plant-based diet doesn’t just have benefits for the planet. Being vegan may actually lead to having better sex.
Following his 2018 documentary “Game Changers”, which is about disproving common misconceptions about veganism, director James Cameron stated, “I’d love to put Viagra out of business, just by spreading the word on plant based eating.”
Similarly, animal-protection advocates PETA have claimed in controversial advertisements that vegans can “last longer” in bed, and overall have a higher sex drive.
And in 2014, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (located in the USA, and having over 10,000 doctors in their organisation) petitioned the founders of Meat Week to rename the event Erectile Dysfunction Acceptance Week with the hashtag #ItsNotYouItsMeat.
So, do vegans actually have better sex? Read on to find out.
Certain foods have been found to boost sexual desire and libido, and it just so happens these are the foods regularly consumed by vegans.
Research has found that foods that are high in Zinc and Vitamin B, such as chickpeas, avocados, bananas, almonds, asparagus, celery and pumpkin seeds, help increase testosterone levels in the body. This in turn helps to boost sexual desire in both male and females, says Dr Chris Iliad from Everyday Health.
In addition, foods such as leafy greens, fruits, cayenne pepper, beetroots and even vegan dark chocolate all help to boost circulation within the body, according to registered dietitian and author of “Read it Before You Eat It”, Bonnie Taub-Dix.
Circulation and increased blood flow are key in enhancing sexual function, as this allows parts of the body to work more effectively, including those most important in sexual interactions.
Cameron says that the hardest people to sell the pro-vegan argument to are men, because they’ve been “hard-wired to believe that strength comes from eating meat.”
However a 2016 study published in the Nutrients Journal found that when comparing vegetarian endurance athletes to meat-eating athletes, those that consumed a plant-based diet had greater cardiorespiratory fitness than the other.
Similarily, a 1986 Danish study tested a group of men consuming different diets by having them use a stationary bike to measure their endurance and strength.
The study found that those consuming an all-plant diet could peddle on average for 167 minutes, and those consuming a mixture of meat and vegetables could peddle for 114 minutes. Only eating meat resulted in a dramatically lower time of 57 minutes before muscle failure.
Secondly, the foods that are commonly eaten by vegans and vegetarians such as leafy greens, legumes and seeds can provide more energy, which can be beneficial in the bedroom.
This is because animal proteins are very dense and require more energy for the body to break down, compared to carbohydrates, which are the primary macronutrients in vegetables and fruits, according to Dr Pierre Dukan, author of The Dukan Diet.
These foods are higher in vitamins and antioxidants and they can also aid in digestion due to the increased fibre, which can all increase energy, says holistic nutritionist Jessica Waller from Chi Health Care.
There’s also a number of elite athletes who are vegan, including Venus Williams and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who face no energy problems while eliminating meat from their diets.
Fruits and vegetables generally have a higher water volume than meat and naturally keep the body better hydrated.
And the better hydrated one is, the more natural lubrication in the body. This can help reduce the level of vaginal dryness for women, which in turn can help to increase libido.
Opt for watermelons, cucumbers, cantaloupes, zucchinis and celeries for a high-water concentration.
Scent can be a contributing factor in sexual attraction.
A 2006 study conducted by Charles University in Prague revealed that body odour was improved, less intense and overall more pleasant, when consuming a diet high in fruit and vegetables. On the other hand, meat-eating participants of the study resulted in a negative impact on perceived body odour.
This is likely because sperm is alkaline, which makes semen taste quite bitter.
By consuming acidic foods such as pineapple, or other fruits that increase the level of fructose and glucose within the body, this can potentially overpower the bitter taste.
Meat and dairy, on the other hand, tend to give off “salty, strong and sharp” flavours, says urologist Dr Nelson Bennet in an article from Men’s Health.
While going vegan can be beneficial for one’s sex life, eating meat occasionally and not fully committing to being vegan is not going to make one’s libido dry up completely.
“Going from a very animal product heavy [diet] to one that is more plant-forward” can still be effective, registered dietician Bonnie Taub-Dix told INSIDER.
For example, try only eating meat one day per week, include vegetables wherever possible, or choose to only eat meat when dining out. Not only will this have environmental benefits, but activities in the bedroom may just get a little better.
If you’re looking to transition to becoming vegan, we’ve put together a starters’ guide here.
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